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Scholars echo Pelosi’s concerns: Trump will not step down in 2020 if he loses re-election

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi predicted this weekend that President Donald Trump may not step down from power if he is defeated in the 2020 election.

“We have to inoculate against that. We have to be prepared for that,” Pelosi told The New York Times on Wednesday after cautioning that unless Democrats defeat Trump by a margin “so big” that the legitimacy of the election is beyond dispute, the president could challenge the outcome.

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After discussing how she felt the Democrats could best run up a large margin against Trump — by running a center-left campaign and avoiding impeachment, which she believes would hit a dead end due to Republicans controlling the Senate — the House speaker described her fears during the 2018 midterm elections that Trump would challenge individual House races where Democrats won unless the party prevailed by a large margin.

“If we win by four seats by a thousand votes each, he’s not going to respect the election,” Pelosi recalled thinking. “He would poison the public mind. He would challenge each of the races; he would say you can’t seat these people. We had to win. Imagine if we hadn’t won — oh, don’t even imagine. So, as we go forward, we have to have the same approach.”

As the Times added:

In recent weeks, Ms. Pelosi has told associates that she does not automatically trust the president to respect the results of any election short of an overwhelming defeat. That view, fed by Mr. Trump’s repeated and unsubstantiated claims of Democratic voter fraud, is one of the reasons she says it is imperative not to play into the president’s hands, especially on impeachment.

Allan Lichtman, a distinguished professor of history at American University, reiterated Pelosi’s worries, telling Salon, “I think Trump will do everything he possibly can to hold on to his power.”

“Remember Trump cannot be embarrassed— cannot be shamed. You can’t appeal to morality, because he has none. You can’t appeal to compassion, he has none. You can’t appeal to the law, he doesn’t care,” Lichtman added. “And if he thinks he can get away with it — absolutely, he will do anything.

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Lichtman’s concerns were also echoed by Laurence H. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb university professor and professor of constitutional law at Harvard University.

“President Trump has sent troubling signals that he might well contest the results of any presidential election he fails to win — and any House or Senate election his preferred candidate fails to win,” Tribe told Salon by email. “Trump has even retweeted his agreement with the absurd and indeed radically anti-constitutional claim by Jerry Falwell Jr. that Trump’s first two years as president were ‘stolen’ from him by the supposedly illegitimate Mueller probe into Russia’s attack on the 2016 election. The ‘argument,’ though I hesitate to call it that, claims that Trump is ‘owed’ an extra two years as ‘reparations’ for the distraction of the investigations into what went awry in 2016.”

Tribe added: “History teaches that would-be dictators should be taken at their word when they declare an intent to remain in power regardless of election results. That’s a strong reason for patriotic citizens of all political persuasions to work toward an electoral landslide that would minimize Trump’s opportunity to cling to power. But nothing could reduce the probability of that abnormal behavior on Trump’s part to zero. If Trump refuses to leave, even judges appointed by him could well align with the legitimate winner’s predictable request for an emergency injunction to pry him from his lair in the White House. If Trump defies judicial orders to give up power — including the nuclear codes — there could well be a military coup, backed by tens of millions of citizens taking to the streets, leading to Trump’s forcible ouster. Failing that, there might be a massive popular uprising, backed by Fox along with the other cable networks and social media platforms, that could well erupt in terrible bloodshed. However, one defines a ‘constitutional crisis’ — a much-overused term — Trump’s refusal to abide by the electoral outcome would certainly qualify as such a crisis.”

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Lichtman also told Salon he questions the wisdom of Pelosi’s approach of not wanting to impeach the president.

“Nancy Pelosi seems to think history celebrates not Catherine the Great, but Catherine the Faint-Hearted. She is leading the Democrats down the fool’s path of playing not to lose and of being afraid — a path that has always caused Democrats to lose. This is a truly turning point — historic moment in the history of the United States. We have a rogue president. She’s absolutely right about that, but we have a rogue president who cannot be checked by what Nancy Pelosi is proposing,” Lichtman said. “The only way to check this president is to hold him accountable, to strike at his power and his brand — and that can only be done by beginning an impeachment investigation. The argument that the House should not impeach because the Senate might not convict is constitutionally unsound, politically unsound and morally bankrupt. It is not the responsibility of the U.S. House to look into a crystal ball and figure out what the Senate may or may not do.”

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George Floyd’s brother tears up discussing condolence phone call from Trump: ‘It hurt me’

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The brother of George Floyd described the condolence phone call he received from President Donald Trump during a Saturday interview on MSNBC.

Philonise Floyd was interviewed by the Rev. Al Sharpton on "Politics Nation."

While Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third degree murder, the other three officers involved in the killing remain free.

"They all need to be convicted of first degree murder and given the death penalty," Floyd said.

"What was the conversation with President Trump like?" Sharpton asked.

"It was so fast," Floyd replied.

"He didn't give me an opportunity to even speak. It was hard, I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept like pushing me off, like 'I don't want to hear what you're talking about.' And I just told him I want justice. I said that I couldn't believe they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight."

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Bill Barr slammed by ex-FBI official for ignoring the right-wing ‘Boogaloo Bois’ infiltrating protests

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Attorney General Bill Barr was slammed by the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday for misleading Americans about the source of violence at the protests over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

"There's evidence developing, Brian, that the organization we're seeing of the most violent protesters is coming from a couple of disturbing places," both, by the way, there's disparate in terms in being from the right or the left. here's what those who monitor these groups and sites are seeing.

"We're seeing a far-right group, one group for example known as the Boogaloo Bois, who on their private Facebook page and social media outlets are calling for violence, calling for people to show up," Frank Figliuzzi told MSNBC's Brian Williams.

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Trump is the ‘greatest troll in the history of the internet’ and Twitter needs to ‘pull the plug’: NYT columnist

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President Donald Trump would face an existential crisis if Twitter were to enforce it's own rules and hold him accountable -- and one New York Times columnist wants to see it happen.

"C’mon, @Jack. You can do it," Maureen Dowd wrote, referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with his username on the platform.

She urged Dorsey to "just pull the plug on him."

"You could answer the existential question of whether @realDonaldTrump even exists if he doesn’t exist on Twitter. I tweet, therefore I am. Dorsey meets Descartes," she explained. "All it would take is one sweet click to force the greatest troll in the history of the internet to meet his maker."

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